Writer’s Musings: What’s In A Spark

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

A spark. A stroke of genius. The lightbulb moment.

No matter what you call it, the times where our creative endeavors seem to bubble from us like a freshwater spring are probably as close as we as humans will ever get to divinity—hence why so many authors, artists, and musicians spend much of their careers trying to find it. And when they do find it, try to keep it going.

This state of near-invincibility in creative pursuits has a name: flow. And it’s a heady drug of a feeling.

I’ve experienced flow both as an artist and as a writer. As an artist, I remember the times where the rest of the world seems to fall away, and I’m lost in the action of creating so completely that I lose track of time. Everything I try seems to work, every brushstroke or ink line perfection.

As a writer, I’ve experienced it as writing a scene and everything clicking into place like puzzle pieces, situations and characterization I hadn’t even planned aligning like a constellation of stars.

It’s hard not to love the experience of flow. It’s the rest of creativity we have to learn to enjoy.

Because the truth of it is, if you want to be a writer, an artist, a crafter, anyone who wants to create anything, you need to be willing to trudge through the times where you wonder if you’ll ever re-experience flow. When you think that you’ll never feel those god-like moments again.

You cannot wait for inspiration, for flow, to create. But the more you create, the more you’ll experience flow. It’s a flighty thing that is attracted to hard work and perseverance.

I live for the times were creativity is like a spark. But sometimes? You gotta make do with embers.

Writer’s Musings: Every Adventure Begins With A Spark

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Writing for me started as an escape route.

I was an illustrator and graphic designer when my hand pain began. First in my thumb and forefinger, then into my palms, my wrists, my forearms. It wasn’t long before I had the inkling that this wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon.

I was right. Pain is my new norm due to debilitating chronic illness. Left with no creative outlet—drawing caused me a burning, throbbing pain up my arms and into my neck—I resolved to pick up something my late wife had used to soothe her own wounds: writing.

It started as poetry, then moved to short stories. Then the stories became longer. And longer. Almost two years later, and that spark of poetry has turned into one published novella, and another novel in the query stage. I began to write around and through my pain, lighting a new flame over old embers.

Today I manage my chronic pain as best I can, drawing when I feel capable of doing so and writing when I’m not. Sometimes the writing is taken from me too when the pain is too bad, but I hold onto those moments where the words leave my fingertips like treasures in my memory.

My weekly newsletter was one more step on the path of my new life. I thank you for being my companions, and I hope you enjoy the scenery.

Let’s start a new adventure.

Writer’s Musings

Here’s where you’ll find all my generic blog posts on writing. These posts were originally released in my Newsletter (which you can sign up for here.) I transfer them over once a month.

Butterflies & Unlit Fires

Butterflies & Unlit Fires Part 2

Candlelight Vigils & Blank Pages

Change Comes in Wildfires

Chasing Fool’s Gold ✨

Each Adventure Begins With A Spark 🔥

Fanning the Flames: How Ideas Are Born Part 1

Fanning the Flames: How Ideas Are Born Part 2

Finding Fuel for the Fire

Fire Escapes and Emergency Exits

Misfits & Matches

A New Year of “Raw, Strange” Fire

Old Flames Meet New Flames

Sparks & Hero’s Journeys

The Temperature At Which Books Burn 🔥

To Each Their Own Flame

Too Many Candles to Burn 🔥

Warmed by a Dying Light

What’s In A Spark

When Burned By Friendly Fire

A Writer’s Guiding Light